Installation view, participating artists, Eva Marathaki, Efi Spyrou, Lito Kattou


SKOUZE3 artist-run space presents the exhibition Folding Embodiments, which comprises of one performance, two video works and one animation by Lito Κattou, Eva Marathaki, Sophia Marathaki and Efi Spyrou.

The video Measure Me #V by Eva Marathaki takes the form of a reflective portrait of the self, presenting the artist herself measuring her stature. The artist is projected twice, as both supervisor and supervisee, and the process of checking her height takes place in a neutral atmosphere. The artist herself is measured and takes measurement, but in each successive calculation her measured self is found to be increasingly shorter. The findings of the measurement are crushing: the body is shrinking, the displacement tends to elimination; it fails to take up the space apportioned to it. The process is interrupted without a comment just as the measured body tends to disappear altogether.

Marathaki, in a self-sarcastic mood and directly referencing her own experiences, explores the concept of sufficiency and the development of an externally-determined inner level that draws steadily upon a primary correlation with the significant Others. Here the place of the Other is taken by the artist herself who, having incorporated the Other's discourse, finds herself holding the yardstick and performing the dynamic evaluation of the self.

The animation Bed-line of Efi Spyrou brings us into a dystopian, institutionalised setting inhabited by awakened objects. Two dozen metallic camp beds lined up in a remote perspective space come to life and start a repetitive motion, which accelerates until the sound becomes deafening. This is a coup d'état by the objects, which take over the field where their users had become inactive. Sick, wayfarers or inmates, the users are absent. Without knowing whether the users have recovered, left or eliminated, we can assume that the cots won the contest and are now left to celebrate their victory. Like rewarded executives - accountable to another system - the beds become a metonymy of dominance. They parade noisily and uncontrollably, choreographing the microphysics of power in a boisterous crescendo of disorder. In the institutional setting of Bed-line the absurd reigns triumphant, without semblances of consent.

Spyrou reproduces an illusory non-place that resembles a surveillance theme park. Non descriptive and resisting any explanatory details, she cryptically presents the paradox as a fact and employs the folding bed as the humble symbol of human lying-down: not of sleep, not of lovemaking but perhaps of physical pain, of decay and loss, of the dream that turned nightmare.
In the video I can walk like you Lito Kattou examines biopolitical and gender issues. The artist is seen wrapping gauze around her feet up to the ankles while a pair of men's shoes is placed next to her. As her feet get swathed, we get to reflect upon the conceptual nexus of the work: the ideal size —the reference size— is larger than hers. To approach it means to strain the body, to give up convenience, to sacrifice natural comfort.

Next we watch her efforts to walk wearing the men's shoes. Given the expression "to walk in someone else's shoes", we would say that she is trying to understand the male Other, to see his side of things. In a more reading, however, she may be trying actually to take his place, to replace him. Her activity hovers between admiration and envy, with the space in-between permeated by unfulfilled intentions. Søren Kierkegaard gives this issue an interesting twist when he sees envy as concealed admiration. In this sense, in I can walk like you we come before a variation of the theme of gender antagonism, the well-polished black men's shoes and the swaddled feet talking about the secret and unfathomable relationship between woman and man. Here Kattou undergoes the trial of covering the distance between admiration and envy, ultimately arriving at a ritual representation of the Other and animating the image of a scarecrow that stands in those grotesque loafer shoes. The peak of the process demonstrates both the impossibility of absolute agreement and the futility of substitution.


Performance In the middle


In the performance In the middle coordinated by Vrissiida Solomou, Lito Κattou, Eva Marathaki and Sophia Marathaki find themselves enmeshed in a system of roles. The dynamic among them emerges with reference to a wooden surface they are holding in their hands. Their efforts to preserve a balance reveal the fine proportions involved in the polar opposites of movement-stillness, proximity-distance, attraction-repulsion. Yet the fragile norm they have managed to establish collapses abruptly when the system is invaded by an unexpected agent which upsets the fastidiously maintained niceties of their interconnections.


Performance In the middle


Overall, the works in the exhibition Folding Embodiments are fraught with a sense of detachment and a Procrustean concern about sufficiency: the anxiety over the adequate size, the ideal width and height, the interplay between internal and external determination. The self and the Other, the embodied subjects, emerge as multiple, faint and perishable; they are reduced to units of measurement and appear shrunk or in potential enlargement, in false enlargement, in demand for transcendence.

Evangelia Ledaki
Curator/Visual Anthropologist